Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
boxpressed

Anyone into DOS / Win98SE Gaming on PC?

Recommended Posts

I've been taking a little break from console collecting and gaming to concentrate on relearning PC gaming from DOS through Windows 98SE. I picked up a nice Win98SE laptop at a thrift and have been having fun playing some of the old classics: Doom II, Jazz Jackrabbit, Tyrian, Blood, etc. This led me to dig out all of my old gameport controllers and video and sound cards. I decided to keep the laptop for DOS games and build the Win98SE rig that I never had. Now I'm waiting for a 1GHz P3 with an Intel 815E motherboard with a GeForce 4 Ti4600 videocard to arrive. This should run everything through Quake III beautifully, although I'm really looking forward to playing Quake II again but with killer framerates. (I had an AMD K6-2 and Voodoo Banshee back in the day.) If this build goes well, I may try to put together a 386 or 486 box just for DOS games.

 

I know about DOSBox and GOG, and I do play games with them, but I really wanted the authentic experience. I thought that configuring DOS games would be a nightmare, but I think that perception came from pre-Internet days when everything was trial and error. Now there's so much good info on forums like VOGONS that there aren't many questions left unanswered. For me, optimizing your system is as much fun as playing the games (some of them, at least).

 

I don't ever think that retro PCs will ever be as collectible as consoles, and that's a good thing right now. Compared to the console and console game prices, the price of motherboards, CPUs, video cards, sound cards, and games are quite reasonable. Sites like Abandonia.com even host awesome titles that are considered "abandonware." But there's also the collectible element too that makes things interesting--finding a Gravis Ultrasound or Roland card, for instance.

 

What are the specs of your pre-XP gaming PCs?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep an old Win98se rig around to play the games that will only work properly on that generation of hard/soft|ware. Win9x is touchy and finding drivers and tweaking is somewhat time consuming, but once you got your build right, it is a hoot.

For my retro PC needs, I've built an P3 Slot1 based system with Dual VooDoo 2's in SLI and an nVidia GeForce. I've found that combo will let me play the widest selection of games from the 90's through the early to mid 2K0's.

  • Abit BX6 2.0 ATX motherboard in custom built system
  • Intel 700 MHz Pentium III CPU
  • 512 megabytes of PC 100 DIMMS (64 megabytes as RAM swap drive)
  • nVidia GeForce 4000 MX
  • Dual 3dfx Voodoo 2 PCI in SLI mode
  • 32 gigabyte IDE HDD (CF Card)
  • Sony DVD-ROM
  • 31/2 Floppy
  • 51/4 Floppy
  • Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE 64 Gold ISA
  • Dlink PCI 10/100 NIC
  • Case: Antec Sonata III ATX
  • PSU: SeaSonic 400W Fanless
  • OS: Windows 98 se

The system uses a CF card for the hard drive. I have two reasons for this. Silence, and ease of backing up. The rig is already fanless, but I like being able to take the CF card out, and make an image of it. That way if it burns out, or I screw up the OS in some way, it is trivial to restore it.

 

More information about my rigs can be found on my website: http://www.laxdragon.com/stuff/puters/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really want to do the CF HDD mod. Is there a good website that walks you through it, or is it something you need to learn from forum posts?

 

Before long, I think I'll pick up a Voodoo 3. They're a lot cheaper than the Voodoo 2 SLI setup, although the V2 SLI was the unobtainable setup for me back in the 90s. I might just go the SLI route if I can find a good working pair of V2s. I know I'll want to play Glide games, and the Banshee is not powerful enough.

 

So the GeForce and the V2s coexist peacefully on the same mobo?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was growing up, my family had a 5150 with the works: Hercules monochrome card, CGA card, monitor for each, EPSON wide carriage printer. We eventually got a hard drive for it. Some of my best gaming experiences were on that PC, including playing Ultima III every day after school for a month and finally finishing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't have anything PC with older than WinXP.

 

Still like some of the old games in the 10-15 year range though - Far Cry, Unreal Tournament, Half Life, RTC Wolfenstein. Although they play on the modern OSes as well.

 

I didn't much get into the older PC games except Wolf3D and Doom. Was into the Amiga until late 90s then PS1 for a few years after that.

PC games until Wolf/Doom usually paled against the Amiga, and PS1 impressed me more until the late 90s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hmm I have:

 

Athlon 700

512 mb ram

voodoo 5 card

windows 98SE

 

Also have

 

Tandy 1000 TL/2

I believe it has 640k memory

30 mb hard drive

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, Tyrian is available for free on GOG in case you want to check out one of the best DOS shmups. Can't recall whether it is one of the free games you get once you sign up for GOG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you get a good CF to IDE adaptor, it is trivial to install windows to it. It appears like a normal hard drive to the system. Quality between CF cards varies though. Also, Win98 only supports partitions up to 64GB. (if you patch fdisk, you can go double that I've heard). The other thing I did to save on wear of the CF card, was install a 3rd party RAM drive, and put the swap file on that. Just to save on wear and tear of the CF card. Since my system had 512mb, that was more than Win98 needed, so I could spare 64mb.

 

I'm not a fan of the VooDoo 3. There are some compatibility issues with some older titles. So, I find the best solution using dual voodoo 2s for 3dfx api specific games, and then use the nVidia for the D3D titles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a PC similar in specs to LaXDragon's except I had a Voodoo 5 card and also Win 98 SE.

 

It ran many games very well but eventually had to toss it (but I kept the Voodoo card and parts).

 

I used to game on a 486 DX2 in the mid 90's and had custom bootdisks with a menu for selecting the game I want. I will NEVER go back to that. I can see it being fun these days to revisit and mess around but I have no desire to go that far back. I'm way better off today with DOXBOX and GOG for DOS based games.

 

On the other hand running Win98 on an older PC was authentic and I kind of wish I didn't toss it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My current dos/win95 box is a P233 MMX, 24Mb ram, 5Gb Hdd, voodoo2 12Mb and hercules terminator beast, sound is on-board sb compatible.

I also have a commodore pc20-III, but it won't display, have to find a 8 bit vga card to see if that fixes the problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't play them anymore since I upgraded to a 64 bit machine, but I have and love 7th Guest, Diablo II, King's Quest series, Myst, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Risk, which is perhaps one of my most favorites. Other awesome games I used to play but no longer own (and yet still want!):

 

Doom

Wolfenstein 3D

X-COM

Commander Keen

 

I also spend quite a bit of time playing Microsoft Entertainment Pack, Ski Free, Chip's Challenge, Pipe Dream, and Jezz Ball. Fun times.

 

I really should get back into the scene.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm definitely into DOS-Win98SE gaming. In fact, I specifically bought a Toshiba Satellite 400CDT because it's an early Pentium laptop with a native 640x480 display and has a sound card which uses a real Yamaha OPL of some variety (it's either the OPL2 or the OPL3). I run Windows 95 on that thing, though, 'cause it feels too slow on Windows 98. I do have a desktop computer that I originally built to run Windows 98 on, but currently it just dual-boots DOS and Linux, and I have a 4-drive floppy controller installed in it so I can access a 1.44MB floppy drive, a 1.2MB floppy drive, and a 360kB floppy drive all at the same time.

 

EDIT: Forgot to mention one downside of the 400CDT. Apparently, its keyboard controller has some shortcomings, as it seems to lock up when being polled by one of my games (Space Chase III: Showdown In Orbit). The game will play fine if I dock the laptop and play using a Gravis Gamepad, though.

Edited by jmetal88

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome thread, i love retro pc gaming.

 

For DOS i do not use MS-DOS unless i was to keep a pc original, Free DOS is better as it supports much more like larger hard drives and memory.

 

My main legacy pc game rig specs

OS: Windows 98 se with unofficial sp3 update

CPU: AMD K6 II 500mhz

RAM: 512mb sdram

Motherboard: DFI K6XV3+ (super socket 7) has AGP 2x, ISA and PCI slots.

HDD: 120gb (cant remember the model)

Video/graphics: Nvidia geforce 4 mx420, 2x voodoo 2 12mb sli

Optical Drive: Creative 8x DVD

Floppy: 1.2mb 3 1/2", 320kb 5 1/4"

Case: Unknown brand of ATX case

PSU: Seasonic 350w ATX (i think its 350w)

Sound: Creative Soundblaster AWE64 Gold, Yamaha MU50 external midi. Edifier stereo speakers (which i use with my retro gaming consoles and home computers like the Amiga/Ataris).

PCI cards: Realtek LAN, some USB 2.0 job that was the only one i got to work with the pc.

KB/M: Anker Mouse 5000dpi (overkill but it was cheap, random logitech serial mouse, some generic AT rubber dome keyboard, Corsair K90 usb Cherry MX Black Keyboard.

Monitor: big ass 21" 4:3 Sony Trinitron.

 

I have another rig which is baby AT form factor; its in bits but it has a Cyrix 5x86 100mhz cpu with 128mb of ram, voodoo banshee graphics card. Can't get it to boot past the initial bios, working on getting it to boot from a HDD.

Edited by KieranD212

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm working on my retro PC build right now actually, I'll pull the specs when I get home. It's awesome to see so many people on this board into it! My biggest challenge is finding a bloody case that will work. I want a period-correct case, but around my neck of the woods they're a pain to find. And yes, I am very OCD about having things period-specific. I'm weird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

not as much as I used to be, but I have a pentium 1 laptop with svga and sound (win 95 / 98)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't they have some Pentium 4 boards with one ISA slot? Can you imagine a P4 with:

 

* Gravis Ultrasound

* 2x Voodoo IIs

* Gigabyte i-RAM with 4gb

 

Pretty sure 95/98 would scream!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to have a nice gaming setup circa early Windows XP just before the switch from standard to widescreen monitors. I get tired of fighting resolution issues with some of my old games. For the rest, I use DOSBox. Most of the classic games I play are DOS games and I haven't run into a game that didn't work right on DOSBox yet.

 

Main issue for me on something like that is one of space. I don't even have space for my current computer, let alone a second one! I ought to just set up a VirtualBox at some point. Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DOSBOX and PC emulators are my compromise. Heck, I even had a G4 Mac with VirtualPC. It was *just* fast enough to run Windows 95 without slowdown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DOSBOX here too. If I was to build an old PC to play as intended, I'd probably get an old laptop and go that route. Portable gaming goodness.

 

Anyhoo, playing XOR NFL Challenge now, which I used to play a lot back in college. Still a fun game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love XOR NFL Challenge. Played that on the old 5150.

 

Well, full steam ahead for retro PC gaming. I ordered some Hitachi 4GB Microdrives and CF-to-IDE adapters. Thought I'd go Microdrive instead of CF because of the read/write issue. I have a Celeron 466 OEM box arriving tomorrow. Probably put the Banshee and a Sound Blaster AWE64 in it. About $60 shipped because I already had the Banshee. Finding a Celeron/P3 Win98SE box is fairly easy and inexpensive, but working OEM 486s are pricey!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A link to a cool jpg that partly inspired me to build a retro PC (image too big to embed here):

 

http://i2.wp.com/information2share.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/list-of-worthwhile-dos-games.jpg

 

I've seen this. It is a very handy quick reference. There is a few games on there I have never heard of, mostly RPG's.

 

DOSBOX and PC emulators are my compromise. Heck, I even had a G4 Mac with VirtualPC. It was *just* fast enough to run Windows 95 without slowdown.

 

DOSBox is hardly a compromise. It completely rocks! Honestly, I mostly run DOS titles in DOSBox on my Linux rig. I keep my MT-32 connected to my Linux box for that purpose. My Win98 rig is for just that, running Win98 games. If there was a reliable Win98 emulator that supported hardware 3D acceleration (and VooDoo emulation), I would retire the real box. I don't see that happening. Unless the DOSBox guys are working on that in secret or something. Doubtful.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...